The Anson County Board of Elections held an emergency meeting Oct. 17 to approve two poll workers inadvertently left off of the approved list.
Board of Elections member Judy Little expressed her concern with the board discussing and approving actions over the phone. “Why do the board have a problem with meeting and showing me in writing these names?” Little said. “Don’t get me wrong; I don’t have any problem with the workers. We want more than enough workers. … I don’t have a problem with that. I have a problem with the procedure. I’m tired of this underhanded, phone calls. You can hear on the phone, you know that, but in here you don’t know nothing about it: ‘Oh, no; you said ‘yes’ on the phone call.’ No, I ain’t saying ‘yes’ on no phone call. I want you to bring me into a meeting; I’ll close my shop down and take time out of my busy schedule… there’s a lot of phone calls being made that you don’t know nothing about.”
Chairman Freddie Paxton maintained that state attorney Don Wright had said it would be “absolutely fine to handle this issue in a teleconference.” Little agreed but said that since she requested a meeting to have everything on paper, the board should meet.
“Like I said, we can get to the poll and get to the election and have five extra people working that we have not approved, but you’re going to tell me that I approved them because I did it over the phone,” Little said. “That’s why I keep the paperwork… but you don’t put stuff in writing, I can’t go on what you’re saying out of your mouth because you say one thing in the room and when you get here you say another thing.”
Secretary Helen Lail stated that she and Paxton agreed to the meeting due to Little’s concern. “Don Wright said it was OK, and that’s the only reason I was going along with it,” Lail said. “But when you asked to have a meeting I told you and him over the telephone if I had been unhappy with something and wanted to have a meeting I was willing.” Paxton maintained that although he personally saw no reason to have a meeting, he agreed when both Little and Lail called for a meeting; however, as he had a lot of things going on and this was a time-sensitive issue he thought it OK to handle over the phone.
Little accused Paxton of never having time to meet to talk about issues and that the public should also demand the issues be discussed, saying that “a lot of stuff has been decided by Mr. Paxton that he don’t want to talk about.”
Lail said if one member feels the need to have a meeting in the future the other members shouldn’t question it. “We should care enough about them to hear what they have to say,” Lail said. “It might be you (Paxton) next time or it might be me. I think everyone deserves to be heard.”
Republican party chair Donna Wells said that the board should vote on whether to do teleconferences in the future. Paxton stated that although he does not want to do teleconferences with the state, he has no problem discussing matters over the phone with Lail and Little. “Up to now, I thought we had a pretty decent — they never made an accusation against me. But apparently, that’s not the way they feel about me.”
Little restated that Paxton wasn’t concerned about the county and board issues, maintaining that the board should only approve workers in meetings after they have reviewed their backgrounds. “Just because they worked in 2008 doesn’t mean they ain’t been no crime since then.”
The board decided to have the party chairs review the poll workers list for the board to approve. Paxton stated that he understood that the poll workers inadvertently left off of the list had already been approved but made a motion to approve Barbara Thomas as a poll worker; his motion was approved unanimously.
Wells and Democratic party chair Vancine Sturdivant looked over the list of poll workers to confirm there were no further errors. Wells noticed that one poll worker, Amy Pace, was missing from the list. Pace was supposed to be moved from one district, Wadesboro 2, to Wadesboro 3 but disappeared from the list altogether, according to Wells. The board agreed that it was an error and Paxton made a motion to put Pace in Wadesboro 3 as a regular worker; the motion was approved unanimously.
The party chairs also said that they want to make sure emergency workers know not to go out of town on the day they may be needed. They and the board decided to tell workers during training Oct. 18, then adjourned the meeting.